Department of Health

Health advice for families on return to school

Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Children and staff who have recently travelled to Wuhan City, China, and who are well can attend school but should be closely monitored for symptoms of coronavirus, Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton said today.

Schools should remain vigilant, but exclusion is only required for anyone who is unwell, is confirmed to have novel coronavirus, or who has been in close contact with a confirmed case.

At this stage, there is no human-to-human transmission of this new virus in Australia.

"Any child or staff member who has been in close contact with a confirmed case should not attend school or childcare for 14 days after their last contact," Dr Sutton said.

"Students or staff who have travelled to Wuhan City or other areas with confirmed cases of the illness can return to school but should be monitored for symptoms of respiratory illness."

"All states and territories are taking an agreed approach to management of the novel coronavirus, in accordance with advice from the World Health Organization and Australia's Chief Medical Officer."

Common symptoms are flu-like symptoms, mainly fever but could also include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches and fatigue.

Anyone who is feeling unwell and is suspected of having the illness should be isolated immediately and phone ahead to a doctor or hospital emergency department so that arrangements can be made to see them while avoiding contact with other patients.

Dr Sutton said good personal hygiene was an important protection against novel coronavirus and all respiratory illnesses - including washing hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating.

Good respiratory hygiene includes covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or coughing into your elbow, disposing of tissues into a bin and washing hands afterwards.

Victoria has one confirmed case of novel coronavirus, a man in his 50s who travelled to Melbourne from Wuhan City. There are no public exposures associated with this case.

People wanting further information on schools and novel coronavirus can view the DHHS website. People concerned about the illness can phone the 24-hour advice line 1800 675 398.

Reviewed 28 January 2020


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